OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - The record decline in home prices in many cities around the country is leading some Oklahomans to have a skewed perception of the real estate market in the state, real estate officials said Tuesday.
About half of Oklahomans surveyed in a statewide poll said they thought the state's housing market was in poor or fair condition, officials with the Oklahoma Association of Realtors said. The association commissioned the statewide poll to get an idea of how national media coverage of the housing crisis is affecting Oklahomans.
Despite concerns among consumers, the association reported the average home price in Oklahoma increased to $149,653 in 2007, a 4.46 percent jump from 2006.
“It's a case of perception not meeting up with reality,'' said Lisa Yates, the association's chief executive officer. “In fact, the sky is not falling on the Oklahoma real estate market.''
Although the number of homes sold statewide decreased slightly to 52,303 in 2007, a dip of 2.83 percent, the sales numbers for last year are still the third highest year on record for home sales in Oklahoma, the association reported.
Yates said Oklahoma consumers should not be disturbed by reports of a housing crisis in other markets, where homes that skyrocketed in value for several years are now dropping dramatically.
“All real estate is local,'' Yates said. “You don't look at California or Nevada when you're looking for a weather report. You shouldn't do that when buying real estate either. What we're seeing is true value over time, which is a much more secure investment for Oklahoma homeowners.''
Andy Dean, a recently married salesman who is shopping around Norman for a new home, said he isn't influenced much by reports of housing crunches in other markets.
“When they were saying home prices were going through the ceiling, mine wasn't, so I'm not falling from anywhere,'' Dean said. “I didn't experience the big spike or the big fall.
“For a change, Oklahoma is just kind of staying steady and not going with the national average.''
Nationally, home prices plunged by record levels in January from a year ago, with almost no major cities immune from the spiraling market.
The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller index of home prices in 20 major cities fell nearly 11 percent in January from a year earlier, the biggest drop in its two-decade history.
Prices were down about 20 percent in Las Vegas and Miami, both paying the price for especially rampant speculation and too much new construction during the housing boom. Fourteen other cities posted record declines in the Tuesday report.
The only city in the index to post an increase was Charlotte, N.C., where real estate agents say prices rose more modestly during the boom years and the regional economy is relatively strong.
A separate survey Tuesday from the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight said home prices nationally fell 3 percent in January from the same month last year. That index is calculated using mortgages of $417,000 or less that are bought or backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.